Marijuana Addiction
Is Weed Addictive?

At CuraWest we have seen the damage marijuana can do for individuals who use it excessively. Many people mistakenly believe that because the drug is naturally derived and widely legal it can be used recreationally with little to no consequence. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, regular marijuana use can lead to the development of marijuana use disorder, which has been known to progress into severe cases if left untreated for an extended period of time. According to the study published by NIDA, roughly 30 percent of all individuals who use marijuana regularly develop a marijuana use disorder. If you or someone you love has been struggling with marijuana dependence, there is help available. Contact us today for more information.

About Marijuana Use Disorder

Marijuana use develops into a problem when a person can no longer easily quit on their own. If you have attempted to quit but found yourself unable to do so for any extended period of time you might require some degree of professional intervention. At CuraWest we understand how destructive marijuana use disorder can be, and we have developed a specialized marijuana detox program to help people take the first step on the road to recovery. According to an article published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, marijuana is considered a Schedule I chemical substance by the Food and Drug Administration, meaning that it has a very high potential for abuse. In fact, marijuana is the most commonly abused psychoactive chemical substance in the U.S. after tobacco and alcohol. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) outlines marijuana dependence, listing a set of nine pathological patterns that serve as diagnostic criteria. These patterns are classified under “impaired control, social impairment, risky behavior or physiological adaptation.”

If you have experienced any of the following there is a good chance you are struggling with a diagnosable marijuana use disorder:

  • You have attempted to cut back on the amount of marijuana you use without success.
  • You have been experiencing significant personal consequences as a direct result of excessive marijuana use.
  • You experience intense psychological drug cravings and overwhelming urges to use marijuana.
  • You spend a significant amount of time obtaining the drug, using the drug and recovering from its effects.
  • You fail to meet personal obligations or take care of personal responsibilities.
  • You engage in risk-taking behaviors like driving while intoxicated or combining marijuana with other drugs like alcohol or opioids.
  • You continue using the drug despite advice to do the contrary.
  • You develop a physical tolerance meaning that more marijuana becomes necessary in order for the desired effects to be produced.
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using suddenly, which might include fatigue, agitation, decreased appetite, insomnia, restlessness and irritability.

If you have been experiencing any of the above-listed symptoms, seeking professional help is a good idea. For more information on marijuana abuse and dependence, contact CuraWest today.

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Marijuana Use Disorder
Facts & Statistics

In 2015 roughly 4 million people met the diagnostic criteria for a marijuana use disorder. Three years later (in 2018) more than 11.8 percent of young adults reported using marijuana over the course of the past year. Despite the exceedingly high rates of use, only around 138,000 of these users sought professional help. There are many reasons why people avoid seeking professional help when it comes to marijuana dependence. Above all else, there is a widespread reputation that marijuana is not addictive and that even when used excessively (daily and in large amounts) it can not be harmful or lead to any serious personal consequences. On the contrary, the following consequences are frequently related to marijuana abuse and dependence.

Consequences of Marijuana Dependence

  • Decreased performance at work or at school
  • Problems in interpersonal relationships
  • Compromised cognitive functioning
  • Memory loss
  • Compromised immune system
  • The development of psychological issues (anxiety and/or depression)
  • Financial or legal issues
  • Mood instability
  • Increased irritability and agitation
  • Increased appetite, which can lead to weight gain
  • The development of a physical tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms with ceased use, which could include diminished appetite, mood changes, irritability, sleep difficulties, headaches, loss of focus, marijuana cravings, sweating, cold sweats, depression and stomach issues

Marijuana Potency

As marijuana continues to rise in potency its effects grow more and more severe. Prior to 1990 the THC content in marijuana was consistently less than 2 percent. An article published by the National Institutes of Health states that between 1995 and 2015 there was a 212 percent increase in THC content in the marijuana flower. According to the same article, in 2017 the most popular strains found in dispensaries in Colorado had a range of THC content from 17–28 percent. Additionally, there are more ways to use marijuana than before. In the past, marijuana was primarily smoked from a joint, pipe or a bong. Now people smoke highly-concentrated forms of marijuana out of vape pens, ingest liquid marijuana from tinctures and eat commercially produced edibles. As a result, emergency room visits directly linked to marijuana use have been on the rise. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, there were 456,000 emergency room visits due to marijuana use in the year 2011 — a 29 percent increase from 2009.

What Steps to Take

If you or someone you love has been struggling with a marijuana use disorder, what are the appropriate steps to take? Does an individual really need to check into a rehab center or go to a medical detox facility? Because marijuana results in fewer withdrawal symptoms than other chemical substances, you might be inclined to skip out on the detox process or attempt to withdraw in an at-home setting. It is critical to understand, however, that while the physical effects of marijuana withdrawal might not be life-threatening, the psychological symptoms of marijuana withdrawal can lead to serious complications when left untreated. To learn more about marijuana withdrawal contact us today.

Is Marijuana Addictive

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CuraWest & Marijuana Detox

At CuraWest we know clients who have been struggling with marijuana addiction require a different set of detox services than clients who have been struggling with a substance like heroin, methamphetamine or benzodiazepines. We offer a highly personalized program of medical detox that caters to the unique needs of each individual client. Upon your admission we conduct an in-depth addiction assessment that helps our clinical team determine which services are going to be the most beneficial.

A medical detox may be helpful. According to NIDA, “People who use marijuana frequently report irritability, mood and sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness, and/or various forms of physical discomfort that peak within the first week after quitting and last up to 2 weeks.”

These symptoms of withdrawal can grow more severe if left untreated. Many people who abuse marijuana for years before attempting to quit experience severe psychological symptoms relating to anxiety and depression, which might progress to panic attacks or suicidal ideation. At CuraWest we take the necessary steps to treat all withdrawal symptoms as soon as they develop, preventing complications and ensuring the process is as comfortable and short-lived as possible.

If you have been struggling with problem marijuana use and you are interested in taking control of your life, CuraWest is available to help. Contact us today to learn more about our individualized and comprehensive marijuana detox program.

Reviewed for accuracy by: our Clinical Director:

Jasmine has worked in the mental health field for over 18 years. She earned her B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in Child and Family Relations from North Carolina Central University, and her M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Argosy University. Jasmine is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and has specialized in addiction for over 10 years.

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